Red Sox overpowered, swept by Rays as 7-run inning leads to 9-3 loss

Despite all the struggles they endured this week, the Red Sox had a chance to secure a winning road trip with a victory over the Rays on Thursday. Boston instead fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 9-3 and were swept in four games as a result.

With the loss, their 13th straight at Tropicana Field, the Red Sox drop to 5-8 on the season. The unbeaten Rays, meanwhile, improve to a perfect 13-0, matching the 1982 Braves and 1987 Brewers for the best start to a season in major-league history.

Thursday’s series finale actually started in positive fashion for Boston. With old friend Jeffrey Springs starting for Tampa Bay, Rob Refsnyder gave the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead in the first inning by taking the lefty 409 feet deep to left field for his first home run of the year.

The Rays quickly responded, though, as Yandy Diaz crushed a leadoff home run off Red Sox starter Corey Kluber to begin things in the bottom of the first. Kluber would settle in, however, and Boston got back on the board in the top of the fourth.

After Springs was forced to exit with ulnar neuritis, Justin Turner greeted new Rays reliever Garrett Cleavinger by ripping a leadoff double to left field. Turner stole third base and then came into score on an Enrique Hernandez force out to put the Red Sox up 2-1. An inning later, Turner struck again, this time plating Christian Arroyo on an RBI single to make it a 3-1 game heading into the bottom of the fifth.

That is where things began to unravel for Boston. Kluber, who retired each of the last nine batters he had faced, yielded a leadoff double to Harold Ramirez. After issuing a one-out walk to Josh Lowe to put runners on the corners, Kluber gave up an RBI single to Francisco Mejia to cut the lead to one run at 3-2.

With two outs, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to pull Kluber for left-hander Richard Bleier. Bleier, in turn, allowed the then-game-tying run to cross the plate on an RBI single from Brandon Lowe that was just out of the reach of Arroyo. Randy Arozarena then gave the Rays their first lead of the afternoon with a groundball single of his own.

After plunking Wander Franco to fill the bases, the pinch-hitting Manuel Margot laid down a perfectly-executed bunt off Bleier to push across Lowe. Ramirez then broke it open with a bases-clearing, three-run double down the left field line to cap off a seven-run fifth inning and give the Rays a commanding 8-3 edge.

Kluber was charged with three of those seven runs. All together, the veteran right-hander surrendered four earned runs on four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work. He was hit with the losing decision and is now 0-3 with a 6.92 ERA through three starts.

Bleier, on the other hand, was charged with the other four runs that crossed the plate in the fifth. Kutter Crawford, who was just recalled from Triple-A Worcester, took over the lefty and served up a solo homer to Brandon Lowe in the seventh. Besides that one blemish, the righty was effective in his three frames of relief.

Offensively, the Red Sox did not have a response for the Rays bullpen after the fifth inning. They went 1-2-3 against Kevin Kelly in the sixth, stranded a runner at scoring position in a hitless seventh inning, and then went down quietly against Braden Bristo in the eighth and ninth. In total, Boston had just four hits as a team while going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Casas’ 14-pitch walk

With one out and one runner on in the fourth inning, Triston Casas fouled off seven consecutive pitches in the process of working a 14-pitch walk off Rays reliever Garrett Cleavinger. Upon taking ball four, Casas flipped his bat and let out an emphatic yell towards the Red Sox dugout.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the last at-bat by a Red Sox hitter that lasted longer than 14 pitches came on April 25, 2012, when Adrian Gonzalez had a 15-pitch groundout against Liam Hendriks, who was then starting for the Twins.

Next up: Sandoval vs. Houck in first of four against Angels

On the heels of a 3-4 road trip, the Red Sox will head home and open a four-game weekend series against the Angels on Friday night. Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener while left-hander Patrick Sandoval is expected to do the same for Los Angeles.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time. The game will be broadcasted exclusively on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)


Chris Sale’s struggles continue as Red Sox fall short of comeback in 9-7 loss to Rays

They made it interesting in the late stages on Wednesday night, but the Red Sox could not come back to knock off the unbeaten Rays. Boston fell to Tampa Bay a final score of 9-7 to drop to 5-7 on the season.

Chris Sale, making his third start of the year for the Sox, surrendered six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Rays got to Sale right away in the bottom of the first, but the left-hander was not fully responsible for what happened. That being the case because with one out, starting shortstop Bobby Dalbec — a natural corner infielder — mishandled a groundball off the bat of Wander Franco, which allowed Franco to reach base safely.

Franco promptly stole second base off Reese McGuire before Isaac Paredes drew a four-pitch walk off Sale to put runners at first and second. Moments later, Randy Arozarena made the Red Sox pay by clubbing a three-run opposite field home run to give the Rays an early 3-0 lead.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, could do nothing against Rays starter Taj Bradley early on. Bradley, making his major-league debut for Tampa Bay took a no-hit bid into the fourth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Alex Verdugo. Following a Rafael Devers strikeout, Justin Turner pushed across Boston’s first run of the night by plating Verdugo from second on a one-out RBI single to left field.

Sale appeared to have settled in to that point by putting up a pair of zeroes in the second and third, but the lefty ran into more trouble in the latter half of the fourth. There, a Taylor Walls leadoff double and back-to-back singles from Christian Bethancourt and Vidal Brujan filled the bases with no outs. Yandy Diaz drove in Walls with a sacrifice fly before Franco ripped a two-run double into the gap in left-center to make it a 6-1 contest in favor of Tampa Bay.

The fourth inning would prove to be Sale’s last. The 34-year-old finished with 81 pitches (55 stirkes), but he only managed to induce eight swings-and-misses. He was ultimately hit with the losing decision an now owns an ERA of 11.25 through three starts.

With Sale’s day done, the Red Sox went back to chipping away at the deficit in the top of the fifth. Enrique Hernandez broke out of a lengthy 0-for-28 skid by driving in McGuire on a two-out RBI double. Verdugo followed with a run-scoring hit of his own to trim the Rays’ lead down to three runs at 6-3.

Tampa Bay did not back down, however. In the bottom of the fifth, Zack Kelly issued a leadoff walk to Harold Ramirez and surrendered back-to-back RBI hits to Bethancourt (double) and Brujan (single) before coming out of the game with an elbow injury. Boston got one of those runs back in the sixth when Turner scored from third on a Raimel Tapia groundout.

Still trailing by four after Ryan Brasier worked his way around a leadoff single in the bottom half of the sixth, the Red Sox added some intrigue to this one in the seventh. After McGuire singled and Hernandez doubled to put runners at second and third with two outs, the Rays replaced Ryan Thompson with Colin Poche to set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup against Devers.

After fouling off the first pitch he saw, Devers won the battle by crushing a 366-foot three-run blast down the left field line for his first home run of the season. Devers’ homer, which left his bat at 100.8 mph, suddenly brought the Sox back to within one run of the Rays at 8-7.

Unfortunately, that is where the scoring would stop for Boston. After John Schreiber tossed a scoreless seventh inning, Justin Adam made quick work of the three Red Sox hitters he faced in the top half of the eighth before Chris Martin allowed a very important insurance run to score in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly from Arozarena.

Down by two runs heading into the ninth, McGuire reached base yet again with a leadoff single off Pete Fairbanks. Connor Wong, who pinch-ran for McGuire, moved up to second on a Yu Chang sacrifice bunt but did not advance any further as Hernandez flew out and Verdugo grounded out to end it.

Wednesday’s 9-7 loss, which took two hours and 44 minutes to complete, marks the Red Sox’ 12th straight defeat at Tropicana Field. The Rays, on the other hand, are now the first team to start a season 12-0 since the 1987 Brewers.

Next up: Kluber vs. Springs

The Red Sox will look to avoid a sweep while simultaneously handing the Rays their first loss of the year in the finale of this four-game set on Thursday afternoon. Right-hander Corey Kluber is slated to start for Boston while left-hander Jeffrey Springs is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Masataka Yoshida scratched from Red Sox lineup due to right hamstring tightness

Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida has been scratched from Wednesday’s starting lineup against the Rays due to right hamstring tightness, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe) at Tropicana Field.

Yoshida was originally starting in left field and batting cleanup for Boston in the second game of this four-game series in St. Petersburg. Now that he has been taken out of the lineup on account of a tight hamstring, Raimel Tapia will move from center to left field while Enrique Hernandez will shift from shortstop to center field and play there for the first time this season.

Bobby Dalbec was not in the original lineup. He will now start at short in Hernandez’s place and bat sixth as the Red Sox go up against Rays rookie right-hander Taj Bradley, who will be making his major-league debut. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

“We had to make some arrangements,” Cora said, per’s Chris Cotillo.

According to Cora, the Red Sox do not believe Yoshida’s hamstring tightness is a serious issue. The 29-year-old is unlikely to play on Thursday as well, but the hope is he will be able to return to the lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Angels at Fenway Park.

“He showed up here, tried to run,” said Cora. “Obviously, if it’s later in the season, we’d push him to do it and he’d be OK to do it, but it doesn’t make sense to play him tonight.”

Yoshida, who signed a five-year, $90 million contract with Boston in December after spending the first seven years of his professional career in Japan, has started 10 of the Red Sox’ first 11 games this season. The left-handed hitter is currently batting .216/.356/.324 with one double, one home run, six RBIs, eight runs scored, two stolen bases, seven walks, and three strikeouts in 45 plate appearances.

(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock gives up 3 home runs in season debut as Red Sox drop second straight to Rays, 7-2

The Red Sox dropped their second straight to the unbeaten Rays on Tuesday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 7-2 at Tropicana Field to drop back below .500 at 5-6 on the season.

Garrett Whitlock made his first start of the year for the Sox after being activated from the injured list earlier in the afternoon. In his 2023 debut, the right-hander surrendered five earned runs on eight hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts over five innings of work.

The Rays got to Whitlock right away in the bottom of the first. Yandy Diaz led off with a single and scored on a two-out RBI double off the bat of Wander Franco that fell in and out of the glove of a diving Rob Refsnyder in center field. An inning later, Josh Lowe doubled Tampa Bay’s lead by singling with two outs, stealing second base, and scoring from second on a Vidal Brujan RBI single.

Whitlock then began to fall victim to the long ball. After getting through a scoreless third inning, the righty gave up his first of three home runs to Isaac Paredes with two outs in the fourth. In the fifth, Diaz and Brandon Lowe went back-to-back on a pair of two-out solo shots to put the Rays up, 5-0.

Though Whitlock ended things in the fifth, the damage had already been done. The 27-year-old hurler finished with 85 pitches (62 strikes) and induced 11 swings-and-misses. He averaged 93.5 mph and topped out at 95.4 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw a game-high 49 times.

With Whitlock’s day done, a hapless Red Sox lineup finally broke through against Rays ace Shane McClanahan in the top of the sixth. There, Devers led off with a walk and went from first to third on a Justin Turner single. Tampa Bay then pulled McClanahan in favor of fellow lefty Garrett Cleavinger, who got Masataka Yoshida to ground into a 4-6-3 double play that Devers was able to score on.

After Richard Bleier put up a zero in the bottom of the sixth, though, the Rays responded in the seventh. Kaleb Ort served up a leadoff homer to Josh Lowe. Four batters later, Diaz scored from third on a Randy Arozarena grounder that was mishandled by first baseman Triston Casas, who was charged with a fielding error as Tampa Bay extended its lead to six runs at 7-1.

Following a 1-2-3 eighth inning from Ryan Brasier, the Red Sox strung together a rally of sorts in the ninth. Alex Verdugo and the pinch-hitting Raimel Tapia both singled off Rays reliever Calvin Faucher before Reese McGuire plated Verdugo from second on a base hit of his own. Enrique Hernandez then struck out on six pitches to end it, meaning he is now 0 for his last 27 at the plate.

All told, Boston mustered just six hits in another low-scoring loss. Three of those six hits came in the ninth inning. Two of them belonged to Reese McGuire, who came off the bench as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.

With the win, the Rays move to a perfect 11-0 to start the season, which is something that has not been done since 1987 when the Brewers started 13-0. Also of note, the Red Sox have now lost 11 straight games at Tropicana Field.

Wong throws out two base stealers

Coming into play on Tuesday, the Red Sox had allowed 15 consecutive successful stolen base attempts to start the season. Josh Lowe made that 16 by swiping second base in the second inning. In that same inning, though, Boston ended that trend when Connor Wong threw out Vidal Brujan at second for the third and final out.

An inning later, Wong gunned down Randy Arozarena to end the third (the call on the field was upheld after a review). As such, the Red Sox are now 2-for-18 when it comes to throwing out potential base stealers in 2023.

Next up: Sale vs. Bradley

The Red Sox will look to get back on track by sending left-hander Chris Sale to the mound on Wednesday night. The Rays will counter with right-hander Taj Bradley, who will be starting — and making his big-league debut — in place of the injured Zach Eflin. Bradley, 22, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Tampa Bay’s farm system.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Corey Kluber tosses 4 innings in final tune-up before Opening Day as Red Sox fall to Rays, 4-2

The Red Sox were held to just four hits in a loss to the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-2 at Tropicana Field to drop to 14-11-4 in Grapefruit League play.

More important than the offensive numbers was Corey Kluber making his final start of the spring for the Sox. The veteran right-hander allowed three earned runs on four hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

The Rays got to Kluber right away in the top of the first, with Tristan Gray belting a one-out solo shot 379 feet down the right field line to give Tampa Bay an early 1-0 lead.

Three innings later, the Red Sox responded with a big fly of their own. After Ceddanne Rafaela led off the top of the fourth with an infield single, Enmanuel Valdez followed by crushing a 396-foot two-run home run to right field off Rays starter Yonny Chirinos. Valdez’s second homer of the spring had an exit velocity of 101.1 mph and put Boston up, 2-1.

Kluber had settled down to that point but ran into more trouble in the latter half of the fourth. There, he allowed two of the first four batters he faced to reach base, which put runners at second and third with two outs for Taylor Walls. Walls, in turn, came through with a two-run double that landed in front of right fielder Wilyer Abreu and scored both Harold Ramirez and Christian Bethancourt.

With the Rays retaking the lead at 3-2, Kluber stranded Walls at second base by getting the final batter he would face in Jose Siri to line out to left field. All told, the 36-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 62 (38 strikes). He induced nine total swings-and-misses and averaged 85.6 mph with his cutter (his most-frequently used pitch), per Baseball Savant.

Kluber finishes the spring having posted a 3.24 ERA with 15 strikeouts to seven walks over five starts (16 2/3 innings). The two-time Cy Young Award winner will next take the mound when the Red Sox host the Orioles on Opening Day (March 30) at Fenway Park.

In relief of Kluber, Zack Kelly received the first call out of the Boston bullpen in the middle of the fifth. The righty fanned a pair over two scoreless frames before making way for Durbin Feltman, who issued a leadoff walk to Siri to begin things in the seventh.

The quick-footed Siri put his speed on full display by stealing second base and moving up to third on a wild pitch while Feltman was busy recording the first two outs of the inning. With runners on the corners and the pinch-hitting Daniel Robertson at the plate, Feltman was caught napping as Siri took off for home and scored rather easily thanks to a poor throw back to the plate.

Siri’s successful steal of home extended the Rays’ lead to two runs at 4-2. After Feltman worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the Red Sox were suddenly down to their final three outs. With Pete Fairbanks on the mound for Tampa Bay, Stephen Scott, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Narciso Crook all went down quietly to end it.

Other worthwhile observations:

Top prospect Marcelo Mayer replaced David Hamilton at shortstop in the sixth inning. The 20-year-old made his only trip to the plate in the eighth and ripped a single off old friend Heath Hembree before stealing his first base of the spring.

Niko Kavadas, another prospect who made the trip to St. Petersburg, accounted for Boston’s only double in the top of the fifth inning. Enmanuel Valdez was the only other member of the starting lineup to register an extra-base hit in Saturday’s contest, which took all of two hours and six minutes to complete.

Next up: Chairman’s Cup finale

The Red Sox will wrap up the final weekend of the Grapefruit League campaign by hosting the Twins in Fort Myers on Sunday afternoon. Since the two sides split the first four games of the series, Sunday’s bout will determine who takes home the 2023 Chairman’s Cup.

Boston will be sending left-hander Chris Sale to the hill while Minnesota will roll with right-hander Sonny Gray. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outfield prospect Gilberto Jiménez homers off Rays ace Shane McClanahan

Red Sox outfield prospect Gilberto Jimenez made his first official hit of the spring count on Saturday afternoon.

As part of a split-squad doubleheader, Jimenez made the trip to St. Petersburg with several other minor-leaguers to take on the Rays at Tropicana Field in some Grapefruit League action.

Starting in right field and batting ninth, Jimenez was tasked with going up against left-hander Shane McClanahan, who finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting last year, to begin things on Monday.

McClanahan, making his third start of the spring for the Rays, took a no-hitter into the third inning by retiring seven of the first eight Red Sox batters he faced. With one out in the third, Jimenez stepped up to the plate for the first time. Hitting from the right side, the switch-hitter fouled off a first-pitch slider but did not extend the at-bat any further.

On the very next pitch he saw, Jimenez took an 87 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate and promptly deposited it 367 feet over the left field fence. The solo shot left his bat at 100.9 mph and later proved to be the only offense the Red Sox could muster off McClanahan and four different Rays relievers.

Jimenez, who went 1-for-2 in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay, is now batting .143 in Grapefruit League play with one RBI, one run scored, one stolen base, and four strikeouts across seven trips to the plate this spring.

The Red Sox originally signed the 22-year-old Jimenez for just $10,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in August 2017. After bursting onto the scene and rising through the ranks as a teenager, the San Cristobal native has seen his prospect stock take a hit recently.

Coming into the 2023 campaign, for instance, Jimenez is no longer regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system. After peaking at No. 7 in 2021, Jimenez fell all the way to No. 23 last year after slashing just .268/.306/.366 (84 wRC+) with 18 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 34 RBIs, 49 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 18 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 99 games (407 plate appearances) with High-A Greenville.

Among the 54 hitters who qualified as league leaders in the South Atlantic League last season, Jimenez posted the lowest walk rate (4.4 percent) and the 26th-worst strikeout rate (24.4 percent). He also ranked 45th in on-base percentage, 37th in slugging percentage, 40th in OPS (.672), 49th in isolated power (.097), 53rd in swinging-strike rate (18.4 percent), 53rd in groundball rate (58.7 percent), and 50th in line-drive rate (15.9 percent), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Jimenez saw playing time at all three outfield positions while with the Drive in 2022. The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder logged 70 innings in left field, 336 innings in center field, and 403 2/3 innings in right field while leading the team in both outfield assists (11) and errors (10).

Jimenez’s 20 stolen bases (in 29 attempts) ranked second on the Drive behind only Tyler McDonough, who swiped 21 bags. Speed remains one of Jimenez’s top tools, as indicated by his above-average speed score of 6.0 last year. He is also still considered by Baseball America to have the best arm of any Red Sox outfield prospect.

Jimenez, who turns 23 in July, is expected to make the jump to Double-A Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season, which begins on April 6 for the Sea Dogs. In certain respects, these next few months could be important for Jimenez when you consider the fact that he can once again become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

If Jimenez can show signs of improvement both at the plate and in the outfield in Portland, he could emerge as a potential trade candidate or even a candidate to be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the end of the year.

(Picture of Gilberto Jimenez: Kelly O’Connor/

Red Sox waste scoring chances, muster just 6 hits in 1-0 shutout loss to Rays

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay a final score of 1-0 at Tropicana Field to drop to 67-71 on the season.

Nick Pivetta was anything but crisp in his 28th start of the year for the Sox. While showing no ill effects from the left calf contusion he sustained in his last time out, the right-hander grinded through five innings in which he allowed one run on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

After taking a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, Pivetta surrendered a leadoff double to Francisco Mejia. Mejia then advanced to third on a Ji-Man Choi groundout before Taylor Walls drove him in on a softly-hit infield single.

That would prove to be all the scoring the Rays would need. Pivetta, who threw 101 pitches (54 strikes), faced 20 batters on Wednesday; 12 of them worked the count full. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 11th loss of the season, though he did lower his ERA to 4.29.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber, Matt Strahm, and Zack Kelly combined for three scoreless frames out of the bullpen to give the Red Sox one last chance going into the top half of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, a Boston lineup that did not feature Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers had already blown its fair share of scoring opportunities.

Enrique Hernandez, for instance, began the game with a leadoff double off Rays starter Jeffrey Springs. He was stranded at second base. Three innings later, Trevor Story reached base via a one-out single off Yonny Chirinos. He moved up to second after J.D. Martinez drew a six-pitch walk but was stranded there after Christian Arroyo and Rob Refsnyder both punched out.

In the fifth, back-to-back singles from Hernandez and Tommy Pham put runners at first and second with two outs for Alex Verdugo, who grounded out to shortstop. Arroyo reached scoring position with a two-out double in the sixth, but Refsnyder followed by striking out for a second time.

Boston’s best chance undoubtedly came in the eighth inning, when Pham singled and Verdugo drew a four-pitch walk to lead things off against Jason Adam. Pham moved up to third base when Story grounded into a fielder’s choice. Story then stole second base, putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

With only one out in the inning, Adam battled back by getting Martinez to fly out and Arroyo to ground out to extinguish the threat. Pete Fairbanks then fanned two and worked his way around a Triston Casas walk in the ninth to seal a 1-0 defeat for the Red Sox.

All told, Boston went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 10 men on base as a team. Hernandez and Pham accounted for four of their side’s six hits. Story and Arroyo were responsible for the other two.

Wednesday’s loss marks the first time the Red Sox have been shut out since May 30, when the Orioles blanked them, 10-0 at Fenway Park. So they went 87 straight games without getting shut out, which had been the longest active streak in Major League baseball.

The Red Sox are now 4-12 against the Rays and 18-39 against divisional opponents this season. They lost their final nine games at Tropicana Field after first beating Tampa Bay on their own turf on April 22.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Baltimore ahead of a three-game weekend series against the Orioles. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Friday’s series opener for Boston while fellow righty Austin Voth is lined up to do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Tommy Pham: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Triston Casas’ first career homer not enough as Red Sox drop second straight to Rays, 8-4

The Red Sox’ season-long struggles against the Rays continued on Tuesday night. Boston dropped its second straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 7-2 to fall to 67-70 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 21st start of the year for the Sox, could not replicate the same kind of performance he enjoyed the last time he faced the Rays at Fenway Park. This time around, the veteran left-hander got rocked for five runs on nine hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Tampa Bay got to Hill before he could even record an out. Yandy Diaz led off the first inning with a hard-hit double and Manuel Margot followed with a line-drive single. With runners on the corners, Randy Arozarena clobbered a 419-foot home run to dead center field to give the Rays a 3-0 lead out of the gate.

Boston responded with two runs in the top of the second. After Rays opener J.T. Chargois yielded a two-out single to Christian Arroyo. That brought Triston Casas to the plate, and the top prospect came through by crushing the first home run of his big-league career.

On a 3-2, 95 mph four-seamer from Chargois that was up and in, Casas deposited a 371-foot two-run blast into the right field seats. The milestone homer left his bat at 96.7 mph.

Hill, meanwhile, ran into more trouble in the third inning as the Rays lineup turned over for the second time. Margot led off with a bunt single and then went from first to third on an Arozarena double. Harold Ramirez followed by plating both runners on a single to left field, though he was thrown out between first and second base. Hill gave up two more hits in the inning, but he did not allow either run to score. He then ended his night by retiring the side in order in the fourth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (46 strikes), Hill managed to induce just eight swings-and-misses. The 42-year-old southpaw was charged with his sixth loss of the season while raising hie ERA to 4.79.

In relief of Hill, Eduard Bazardo received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The hard-throwing righty punched out a pair in a scoreless fifth inning, but served up back-to-back solo shots to Christian Bethancourt and Yu Chang in the sixth. Tyler Danish also surrendered an RBI double to Francisco Mejia in the seventh.

In the eighth, Reese McGuire drew a one-out walk off old friend Jalen Beeks. Moments after McGuire reached first base, Tommy Pham clubbed a 421-foot home run to left-center field. His fifth big fly in a Red Sox uniform had an exit velocity of 106 mph and cut the Rays’ lead to four runs.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth following a scoreless bottom of the eighth from Ryan Brasier, the Sox went down quietly against Jason Adam. Trevor Story struck out, Arroyo popped out into foul territory, and Casas fanned to seal an 8-4 defeat.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 4-11 against the Rays this season and 18-38 against divisional opponents.

Bogaerts leaves early due to back spasms as multi-hit streak ends

Xander Bogaerts was pulled in the middle of the seventh inning with back spasms. He had grounded into a double play in the top of the sixth and appeared to be in some discomfort while running towards first base. Enrique Hernandez replaced Bogaerts at shortstop while Rob Refsnyder took over in center field.

Prior to being pulled, Bogaerts had gone 0-for-3 with a strikeout. So his nine-game multi-hit streak has come to an end. He will not play on Wednesday.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Springs in finale

The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Despite leaving his last start early because of a left calf contusion, right-hander Nick Pivetta will take the mound for Boston. On the other side, it will be left-hander Jeffrey Springs toeing the rubber for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Franchy Cordero suffers right ankle sprain, will undergo MRI on Tuesday

Red Sox left fielder Franchy Cordero sprained his right ankle in the fifth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

With one out and one runner on, Cordero attempted to track down a 358-foot fly ball off the bat of Randy Arozarena. He wound up running into the wall, however, as his right cleat got caught in the padding of the left field fence. That caused him to land awkwardly and hit the ground in pain.

After remaining on the warning track for a brief period, Cordero was visited by Red Sox manager Alex Cora and associate head athletic trainer Brandon Henry. Unable to put any weight on that right leg, Cordero was carted off the field and replaced in left by Rob Refsnyder.

While Cordero was initially diagnosed with a right ankle sprain, Cora provided an update after the game and revealed that the 28-year-old would be undergoing an MRI on Tuesday to ensure that there is no ligament damage.

“Franchy, he’s OK,” Cora said. “He’s going to get an MRI tomorrow to see if there’s ligament damage. We doubt it. But of course, we have to wait and see. He’s sore, of course, but we’ll wait and see for tomorrow.”

Both Cora and Cordero feared for the worst when contact was made with the wall. But Cordero seemed to be in better spirits despite being on crutches when explaining what went wrong on the play that ultimately resulted in an RBI double for Arozarena.

“I tried to field the ball and in this ballpark with the artificial grass you don’t feel the warning track, so you don’t know how close you are to the wall,” Cordero said through interpreter Carlos Villoria Benítez. “But so far the scans of everything have been negative. It’s just a sprained ankle.

“In the beginning, it felt really bad, but as I was coming to the clubhouse it was feeling better,” he added. “At first, I felt it was something worse than it was.”

As of now, it is not yet clear how much time Cordero — who went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts on Monday — will miss because of this ankle sprain. Tuesday’s MRI will likely provide the Red Sox with more information as well as a possible timetable.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow three-run lead, waste Kutter Crawford’s strong start in 5-4 loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 5-4 at Tropicana Field on Thursday night. Boston winds up getting swept by Tampa Bay in four games to drop to 47-43 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, pitched well. The rookie right-hander allowed three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts over six-plus innings of work.

All three runs Crawford gave up came in the bottom half of the seventh. After cruising through six scoreless frames on 82 pitches, the Okeechobee, Fla. native came back out for the seventh with a 3-0 lead in hand.

Having retired each of the last 10 batters he faced, Crawford yielded a leadoff double to Jonathan Aranda to begin things in the seventh. A Christian Bethancourt single put runners on the corners for Josh Lowe, who plated the Rays’ first run on an RBI double that also chased Crawford from the game.

John Schreiber was then dispatched out of the Red Sox bullpen, inheriting a situation in which runners were at second and third and there were still two outs to get. Schreiber allowed both runners he inherited to score on a game-tying, two-run single to Taylor Walls.

That closed the book for Crawford, who finished with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced a total of 13 swings-and-misses while mixing in his four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, slider, and changeup.

After plunking Luke Raley, Schreiber served up another two-run single to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays their first lead of the night at 5-3. Schreiber got through the rest of the seventh with the help of an Alex Verdugo outfield assist before making way for Darwinzon Hernandez.

Hernandez, making his season debut for the Sox, needed just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to strike out two and retire the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to keep the deficit at two runs.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had been limited to just three runs. Rafael Devers got the scoring started by golfing his 20th home run of the season off Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen in the fourth inning. Devers’ solo blast left his bat at 103.4 mph and traveled 393 feet to right field.

Fast forward to the sixth, Jarren Duran reached base on a one-out single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Devers groundout. He then scored from third on a wild pitch that allowed J.D. Martinez to move up to second after drawing a two-out walk.

Xander Bogaerts wasted no time in driving in Martinez by roping a 102.8 mph RBI double to the right-center field gap. That gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead, though it was not long-lived.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by two runs in the ninth, the Sox made things interesting against old friend Jalen Beeks. Bogaerts led off with a single and scored all the way from first on a hard-hit RBI double from Verdugo. But Verdugo was left at second base as the pinch-hitting Christian Vazquez popped out, Kevin Plawecki walked, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec struck out, and Jeter Downs grounded out to end things there.

With the loss, the Red Sox have dropped eight of their last 10 games and are now 4-10 in the month of July.

Next up: Eovaldi returns for series opener in the Bronx

The Red Sox will head north to open a three-game weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night. Boston will activate right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the injured list to start the opener. New York will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)